What I’m Loving Lately

Currently my kitchen has no ceiling. That’s right. And it’s on purpose! The hubbs and I are in the middle of some renovations on our house and as you can probably guess, it’s making any sort of cooking, baking or blogging quite challenging. My photo setup has been dismantled and replaced with a tools table. Ahh! Obviously I’m super excited about the end result of our reno, but living in it is a bit tough. That being said, I’ve decided to keep things positive and share some things that I’m loving lately!

1. Avocado with salt and red pepper flakes

This is my new favorite side dish instead of chips or soup. And it adds some healthy and satisfying fats to my lunch. Plus the red pepper flakes add a little something special 🙂

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2. LaraBars as dessert

Lately I’ve been trying to reduce my refined sugar intake, but I still get intense cravings for something sweet. Enter the Coconut Cream Pie LaraBar. It’s the perfect amount of sweetness, but has only natural sugar from dates and also has fiber and protein to keep me full.

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3. Lettuce wraps instead of chips/tortillas

Check out these beef tacos! Lately I’ve been subbing the corn taco shell with some romaine lettuce leaves and it’s pretty awesome. Honestly I don’t even miss the taco shell. Who needs carbs when you have beef, cheese and veggies?!

 

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4. Little Secrets dark chocolate peanut butter candies

These things are dangerously delicious. They are like peanut butter M&Ms, but way better because they’re dark chocolate and have nothing artificial in them! Perfect for movie date nights 🙂

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5. Bowls

I’m not talking ceramic. I’m talking rice, veggies, sauces and big flavor. Just grab your favorite fresh and roasted veggies, your favorite grain or whole grain crackers, some protein like roasted chicken and top with your favorite salad dressing or sauce. Done and done.

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The last thing I’m loving probably deserves its own blog post and that’s the weather. Spring is here in New England, well sometimes. By sometimes I mean yesterday it was 85 and today it was 45. But I love any warmth and sunshine we can get! Okay, I’m off to help build us a new ceiling. Wish me luck!

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How To Have A Beautiful Seacoast Wedding

Happy Monday! I’m taking a short break from healthy food and fitness today to talk about my wedding. I know the title of this post seems a bit boastful, but the truth is that my wedding was only beautiful because of all the amazing people involved that helped make it possible!

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One year ago today I was stressing over white lanterns, teardrop earrings and seating charts. Luckily I don’t have to deal with that anymore, but there are a lot of brides out there right now who are probably wondering things like “who should I choose for a DJ”, “how can I afford a beachfront wedding” and “what the h@ll am I going to do for favors”?

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So seven months later I’ve finally compiled a list of everyone who helped make my day so incredibly perfect, so that I can share it with others who may be looking for a little bit of help! And luckily for them, these vendors come Katie-approved. Believe me, my vetting process was intense and I am very picky, so rest assured, they are all top notch.

VenueThe Meeting House at the Union Bluff – York, ME

Shawn and I were married at the Union Bluff hotel in York, Maine. The hotel is located right on Short Sands Beach and the ceremony takes place on the “bluff” of grass overlooking the ocean. The reception is held in the Meeting House ballroom, which has a beautiful outdoor patio with ocean views. Two great things about this venue – 1. it comes with a wedding coordinator, Darlene Yankura, who is incredibly helpful and knows her stuff 2. their Sunday  pricing makes it actually affordable to get married on the ocean!

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Flowers – F…As In Flowers – Exeter, NH

Lynn is a magician with flowers and is literally the nicest person you will ever meet. She was always a text, email or call away and I fully trusted her to deliver creative arrangements, and that she did!

F as In Flowers

Cake – Maryann Kane Cakes in Eliot, ME

Maryann took us by surprise. We were about to go with another (very expensive) bakery and then we did a tasting in Maryann’s home kitchen. It was the best cake we had ever had and at 10am we could not stop eating the double fudge chocolate slice she placed in front of us. The cake came out beautiful, she was easy to work with and best of all, it was a bargain price.

Cakes By Maryanne

Favors – Coastal Maine Popcorn – Portland, ME

How cute are these favors? These were one my favorite things about my wedding. I tortured my bridesmaids by making them fill up 120 jars of popcorn the night before the wedding, but in the end it was worth it. The popcorn came from Coastal Maine Popcorn in Maine and I highly recommend the Rice Crispy Treat flavor. Oh. my. god. so delicious.

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Dress – Madeleine’s Daughter – Portsmouth, NH

Skip David’s Bridal for your gown. Trust me. Getting your gown at Madeleine’s Daughter in Portsmouth is the quintessential dress experience.  The shop is beautiful and everyone treats you like a queen, or a princess rather. Who doesn’t want that?! They are able to accommodate all kinds of budgets and a personal consultant helps you through the whole process.

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Hair and Makeup – Polished Spa – Epping, NH

These girls are getting so popular, you better book now! Kassie and Tiffany were pros and made us all look b-e-a-u-tiful.

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Photographer – Shutter Eyes Photography – Boston, MA

Our photographer was able to make two awkward, shy people look like a million bucks. I mean, have you seen our photos? Trust me, we don’t look that good in real life. Will is so professional, quick to respond and most importantly takes amazing photos. He was recommended to us by a friend and we continue to recommend him to our friends time and time again.

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Videographer – Creative Edge Arts – Belfast, ME

Josh and Kyle were creative, professional and seemingly invisible! The best videographer is the one you don’t notice. P.S. if you’re on the fence about getting a videographer, DO IT! Watching our video was like reliving the day, and it goes by SO fast that you will want the opportunity to see it again.

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DJ/Guitarist – Aaron Denny  – Southern, NH

Aaron was our DJ and played classical guitar for our ceremony. Numerous people came up to us and told us how much they loved his playing. Plus he was great at keeping the party going on the dance floor!

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Overall it was truly one of the happiest days of my life. I remember feeling so calm and able to just enjoy the day, which was possible because of my amazing vendors (and of course a few helpful bridesmaids and groomsmen).

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If you are a bride in the Seacoast area planning your wedding, feel free to reach out to me with any questions! I’m happy to help wherever I can 🙂

And if you’re just a lover of all-things happy and pretty, I hope you enjoyed my wedding recap!

6 Healthy Food Swaps for Quick Meals

Eating healthy when you’re on-the-go can be quite challenging. And I am the queen of on-the-go, so I know the struggle is real.

Little tid-bit of info about my life – I work full time in marketing during the day and 2-3 nights a week I teach dance and rehearse at a local studio. That means a lot of my dinners are packed to-go or just need to be super quick.

healthy food swaps for quick meals

Over the years I’ve found some products that are easy AND healthy. The worst feeling is walking into a dance class with an overfull belly of McDonalds because you didn’t have time to make something healthy.

Below is a list of my top 6 Healthy Food Swaps for Quick Meals

1. Instead of 45- minute white rice…

Microwave brown rice/grain packet

One of my biggest pet peeves is how freakin’ long it takes to cook rice. Luckily, I found Seeds of Change rice packets. These guys are a life saver. And I love that they are incorporating other grains like quinoa and red rice.

seeds of change rice

2. Instead of chicken nuggets…

Frozen sausage

As you found out in my last post, I love frozen sausage. They’re just so easy to pluck out of the freezer, microwave and BAM, you’ve got your protein in less than 3 minutes. Combine Roasted Garlic Al Fresco chicken sausage with some brown rice and vegetables and you’ve got a whole meal in less than 10 minutes. Just make sure the sausage you pick is nitrate free. Processed meats are OK in moderation, just make sure they are all natural or organic. I also love these Kayem artisan sausages!

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3. Instead of Easy Mac…

Whole grain mac & cheese box

You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re about to reach for the cereal…but wait! You have a box of mac & cheese! AND it’s whole grain?? WHaaaat? Combine one of these whole grain mac and cheese boxes with some frozen vegetables and you’re as good as gold. This Hodgson Mill Ultragrain Mac & Cheese is made with quinoa! So cool.

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4. Instead of canned vegetables…

Frozen vegetables

Quick, easy and there when you need them. With the same nutrition as the fresh version, you can’t go wrong. I especially like some of the Trader Joe’s frozen vegetables that have some tasty sauces or spices on them.

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5. Instead of Lean Cuisine…

Smart Made frozen meals

I do not recommend frozen meals on the reg. However, if you’re in a pinch, these Smart Made meals are actually not horrible for you and are truly tasty. My expectations were pretty low since frozen meals like this usually make me gag and then die of sodium poisoning. But, to my surprise it was pretty darn good. The idea is that they have swapped in healthier ingredients like brownie rice, whole grain pasta, turkey instead of beef, etc. I’ve had the Turkey Sausage & Roasted Veg Lasagna and the Roasted Turkey & Vegeteables meals, both of which made me feel great after and I could just reach into the freezer and grab it on my way out the door. Perfection.

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6. Instead of Ramen…

Hearty soups

This is definitely my last-ditch effort at a meal. But when all I can do is grab a can from the cabinet, I want to make sure that it contains something at least semi-healthy. Lately I’ve been loving these Campbell’s Well Yes soups. They are made with relatively healthy ingredients are surprisingly tasty. Sweet Potato Corn Chowder is my fave. But my all-time favorite soup/meal is from my man Wolfgang Puck. His soups are amazing and made with hearty organic ingredients. The butternut squash is my wintertime weakness.

campbell's well yes sweet potato corn chowder soup

What do you eat when you’re on the go?

4 Healthy Snack Swaps For The Food You Crave

Nowadays there are lots of healthier snack options out there to satisfy even the most ravenous sweet tooth. I’ve compiled a list of a few I’ve come across that are actually delicious. Because that’s the point, right? No one wants to be gnawing on cardboard when they just want a cookie.

I’m not saying that you should eat these every day, all day (although you might want to after you try them), but they are each packing some beneficial ingredients and are probably a bit better for you than their classic counterparts.

4 Healthy Snack Swaps For The Food You Crave

#1 – When You’re Craving GUMMIES

The Solution: Trader Joe’s Fruit Bar

I’ve never seen a fruit bar so jam-packed with goodness. This bar has flax and chia seeds and provide 6 grams of fiber! Next time you’re craving gummy worms, reach for this instead and let the superfoods do their work.

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#3 – When You’re Craving CHOCOLATE

The Solution: Lovely Dark Chocolate Coconut Chips

These little guys are my new favorite thing. Organic, non-GMO coconut chips covered in 60% cacao. Addicting, but winning in the antioxidant game. I actually found these in the food isle at Home Hoods.

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#3 – When You’re Craving COOKIES

The Solution: Zema’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are so cool. They’re gluten free, but actually taste good. Go figure! They’re made with a blend of quinoa, oat, teff and millet flour and also have flax and chia. Not going to lie I enjoyed a few dunked into a glass of milk. Because apparently I’m 5. Or Santa Claus.

Another Home Goods find!

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#4 – When You’re Craving CAKE

The Solution: Kodiak Cakes Cups

The Blueberry & Maple flavor below is actually more of a breakfast go-to for me, topped with walnuts, fresh blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup, mmmMMmmm!

But if you’re in a “I NEED CHOCOLATE CAKE RIGHT NOW” kind of mood, try their Double Dark Chocolate flavor with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. You will think you have died and gone to healthy-cake heaven.

I buy these at Hannaford or Shaws, but they’re probably available at other groceries stores as well.

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These little cups are chock-full of 100% whole-grain goodness and have a pretty clean ingredient list. Each one has a whopping 6 grams of protein (plus 2 more if you use milk instead of water, which I do, duh) and 5 grams of fiber. This is 250 calories of cake that you don’t need to feel bad about.

Hopefully this list inspires you to upgrade your snacks so that you’re at least getting something good out of that chocolate splurge…may it be fiber, protein, antioxidants or just that good’ol happy feeling of satisfying your craving.

Truly, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

5 Things To Make You Feel Healthier Right Now

You know what helps me get excited to get healthy? New cool sh$t. If I have a brand new 800 strap florescent pink sports bra waiting for me in my gym bag, I’m a thousand times more excited to hit the gym. New sneakers? Forget it, I’m a bouncing ball of joy on my way to the treadmill.

So  I’ve compiled a list of the new, cool stuff I’ve been sporting that is helping me feel or be healthier right now.

5 Things To Make You Feel Healthier Right Now

#5 PiperWai Natural Deodorant

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This stuff is the answer to my deodorant prayers. When I started learning about the negative affects of chemicals in conventional deodorants I went on a rampage trying to find a natural deodorant that worked and didn’t feel sticky and weird. One night I was watching Shark Tank and these women came on claiming that it was the next best thing and I immediately ordered one. Hold. the. phone. It worked! At first it was a little weird because you have to rub it on with your finger, but you get over it. The price is a bit high at $12 per container, but it’s worth knowing I’m not lathering terrible chemicals on such a sensitive area of my body.

#4 Corkcicle Water Bottle

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Everyone knows that drinking more water is better for your health, but sometimes it’s hard to remember to do it. For me, if I have a super cute water bottle staring me in the face, I will drink from it just out of pure attraction. Plus, this bottle keeps the water ice cold so it’s refreshing even if it’s been sitting at my desk for 8 hours.

#3 The Leaf

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This is like a FitBit, but is actually attractive to look at. The Leaf is also created specifically for women and not only tracks your activity and sleep, but also tracks your stress level and fertility. So cool! You can wear it as a bracelet, necklace or just clip it to your pants. It can also vibrate you awake if you so please.

#2 Nike AirMax FlyKnit Sneakers

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Cute on cute on cute. ‘Nuff said.

#1 UpTrak Standing Desk

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This standing desk has rocked my world over the past few weeks. I used to get really bad hip pain from sitting so long at my job. Now I can raise it when I want and lower it when I get tired. I thought I would stand all day long, but you actually have to slowly ease into it since sadly my body is not used to standing for long periods of time. But I’ll get there!

It’s funny how just a few items can make a big different in how healthy you feel or how motivated you are to get healthy. It just goes to show that shopping for new stuff is not all bad! Plus it’s good cardio 🙂

What things make you feel healthy?